Extremes of temperature: hypothermia

F. M. Bright, R. W. Byard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


The most common cause of lethal hypothermia is accidental exposure to low environmental temperatures, contributed to by inadequate or wet clothing, and damp or windy conditions. Other exacerbating factors include low muscle mass, alcohol and drug ingestion, trauma, open injuries, immobility, and certain underlying illnesses. Those at the extremes of age are at highest risk. Typical findings at autopsy include superficial gastric lesions, so-called Wischnewski spots, pink discoloration of the skin over the large joints, acute pancreatic inflammation with fat necrosis, fatty change in cells of the heart, liver and kidneys, skeletal muscle hemorrhage, and vacuolization of renal tubular cells.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of forensic and legal medicine
EditorsJason Payne-James, Roger W. Byard
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128000557
ISBN (Print)9780128000342
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Death
  • Diogenes syndrome
  • Frost bite
  • Gastric erosions
  • Hide and die
  • Hypothermia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Paradoxical undressing
  • Wischnewski spots


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